Postcard from New Zealand: Geology & environmental conservation
Sophie Glabius’21 and fellow classmates collected seismic images of the sea floor while aboard a research vessel near Stewart Island, New Zealand.
- Name: Sophie Glaubius’21
- Hometown: Wisner, Nebraska
- Major: Geology
- Study Abroad Location: University of Otago, New Zealand
Q. How is study abroad benefiting your Beloit College education?
At Otago, I’ve gotten the chance to study subjects I couldn’t at Beloit. My favorite class was Ocean Geology and Geophysics. The class took a four day field trip to Stewart Island, where we collected seismic images of the sea floor while aboard a research vessel. Being able to study the ocean in such a hands-on way has really strengthened my understanding of topics covered in my geology courses at Beloit. I’ve also been able to see the value of my Beloit education outside the Beloit bubble, as its helped me engage with the new perspectives and values I’m encountering.
A shot of the Polaris II research vessel I had the chance to spend four days on while collecting data from the sea near Stewart Island.
Q. How are you engaging with people and place when you’re not in the classroom?
When I’m not studying, I’m usually going for walks around the city. This has given me a chance to really explore other cultures outside the university including student subculture. I also bought a bus pass and have been doing some trips to different cities and regions of New Zealand, which has both let me see more of the country and meet more people, and gain a lot of self-confidence when it comes to being on my own.
Q. What is your favorite place in your host city/country?
I absolutely love going to the beach, whether with friends or by myself. I grew up as far away from the ocean as you can get, so I especially appreciate the peaceful sound of the waves and searching for New Zealand’s famous pāua shells.
The Moeraki Boulders beach, where there were dozens of these perfectly spherical concretions that had eroded from a nearby cliff.
Q. What has been the most unexpected thing you encountered while abroad?
There are some different attitudes to the environment and conservation than I was not expecting. While I expected things like recycling and eating local, I was shocked when I learned many drivers will actively try to run over rabbits or possums that run across the road! These are both invasive species in New Zealand and have been doing a lot of damage to the native ecosystems here, which Kiwis (New Zealanders) are very passionate about protecting.
Q. Describe some daily rituals/routines that you’ve observed while abroad.
I walk to the supermarket a few times a week, and usually go through the Dunedin Botanic Gardens on the way. I often try to take a new route through the gardens each time I go. Taking the time to enjoy the native birds and plants is such a nice way to unwind in the middle of a busy day.
A Dunedin skyline, featuring some of street art that is all over the city.